After being diagnosed with a serious health condition, it can be difficult to press forward. This is especially true when a diagnosis is met with complex treatment options filled with numerous specialists, check-ups, and medications.
It can be easy to quickly become overwhelmed. You may not be able to make it to numerous appointments because of limited transportation or a lack of nearby healthcare providers. Challenges like these are being overcome with technology like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. By bringing patient care to your home, you’ll have more access to the essential care you need. This will bring more comprehensive care as well.
Telemedicine reduces rehospitalization by ensuring patients’ vitals are checked regularly. It also allows patients the opportunity to speak to their doctor on an ongoing basis. Limiting the number of visits to hospitals and doctors’ offices can also reduce patient stress and anxiety—encouraging them to be more active in their treatment and wellness. Telemedicine is often a less expensive alternative to in-patient care, too. Patients can not only save on healthcare but in some cases now afford it.
Ease of Record Keeping
If you have diabetes, you know how taxing it can be to keep track of your glucose levels. Checking your blood sugar multiple times a day, recording it in your logbook, making an appointment to turn it in—it all takes a lot of time. And after that, you still don’t know if there’s an abnormality until your doctor takes time to review the logs.
With devices like the SmartMeter, patients with diabetes can easily check glucose levels, and instantly upload that data to their account. Instead of keeping logbooks, you can record your glucose levels with ease. Not only is it easier to keep track, but your doctor can continuously monitor these records for changes. This means that doctors can catch abnormalities before they turn into serious problems. When they do catch an oddity, they can use telemedicine to fill a necessary prescription instead of making an appointment and waiting for you to come to the office.
Access to Appointments
Telemedicine makes treatment options easier to navigate for patients with mesothelioma, a rare cancer. While there is no cure, treatment for mesothelioma often includes chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. These treatments require regular trips to your healthcare provider and many times to numerous specialists. If you have to arrange for transportation for these visits, it can be difficult to keep up.
Sometimes, access to specialists is limited too, with only a small number of doctors specializing in a rare cancer. Traveling to see these doctors can be expensive and push some patient’s budgets far beyond their limits. Luckily with telehealth, you can easily contact your doctor for a quick check-in, saving you a trip to the hospital. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you need to see four different specialists throughout the week, it can make a huge difference.
Mesothelioma disproportionately affects seniors due to a latency period of 10-50 years before symptoms arise in a patient. Due to poor mobility or a lack of transportation, older people typically have the most difficulty getting to appointments, and this is a major hindrance in receiving care. Telemedicine is changing this by bringing access to their homes and making sure they’re able to see their doctor.
If your child were diagnosed with an arrhythmia, a lot would be going through your mind. You wonder if your child will be stuck in a hospital. What their quality of life will be if the arrhythmia isn’t corrected. The doctor explains that, thankfully, the condition isn’t life-threatening, but needs to be watched closely. This is another way remote patient monitoring is improving access to healthcare and quality of life for patients.
Cardiac telemetry allows continuous remote monitoring of the heart for dramatic changes in its rhythm. While remaining active your child’s heart is constantly observed by a remote electrocardiogram (ECG). This method of monitoring is similar to being hooked up to a cardiac monitor in a hospital, without all the wires.
The information from the ECG is sent to a centralized monitoring computer where nurses and doctors are able to continuously keep track of your child’s heart rhythm. In doing so, the slightest abnormality will be caught immediately, leaving nothing to chance. Knowing that your child is safe at home and living comfortably won’t cure the anxiety that comes with the diagnosis of arrhythmia, but hopefully, it will bring peace of mind knowing that they’ll get the care they need as soon as an alarm is sounded.
There are many ways that telemedicine and remote patient monitoring are transforming access to healthcare. These are just a few ways that technology has improved the well being of patients, relieved some of the anxiety felt by families and brought access to remote corners of communities. To think this technology has gone from simply being able to call your doctor to be able to receive full care over the internet is an ability that would have been hard to imagine just a few decades ago. It’s difficult to fathom what technology will provide access to next.